AMA Conference article

9 Jun 2015

The number of ageing Australians with progressive chronic conditions are increasing and GPs are facing complex clinical, legal and ethical challenges in providing palliative care to older Australians living in the community. 

In 2015, GP education and training for advance care planning and palliative care is a key focus for Decision Assist, with the program rolling out a suite of opportunities for GPs to enhance skills and expertise.

Decision Assist is a national program funded by the Australian Government to provide support and education on advance care planning and palliative care for GPs and aged care staff. 

To support GPs in proactively managing their patients’ care, educational options are based on the framework of palliative care, an important tool that uses three trajectories.

The first trajectory relates to residents whose clinical conditions, although progressive, are currently stable.  The second relates to residents whose conditions are actively deteriorating and the third to residents who are in the terminal phase – that is, about the last week of life.

As well as supporting GPs through education and training, Decision Assist also offers a Palliative Care Phone Advisory Service - 1300 668 908.  Specialist operators, including specialist palliative care physicians, are ready to take calls from GPs 24/7 on all palliative care issues, ranging from medication, symptom management, psychosocial support and bereavement advice to information about education.

For more information go to www.decisionassist.org.au.